When I studied abroad in Cape Town, South Africa, I didn’t know what to expect. I figured that I would be able to find and cook my own vegan meals, but I didn’t expect Cape Town to be the vegan paradise that it is! If Cape Town isn’t on your bucket list, it needs to be. I loved living in Cape Town and discovering all the vegan spots, and I’m excited to share them with you! Here is your complete vegan guide to Cape Town, South Africa!
The best restaurants
- Ground Zero Marley Coffee. You’ll want to spend all day inside this all-vegan coffee shop and café located in Observatory. It has the cutest little patio; I would recommend bringing some work to do, a good book, or a willingness to chat with a few new friends, because you’ll want to stay for hours!
- Hungry Herbivore. This all-vegan restaurant conveniently located outside of Cape Town’s Central Business District (CBD) has it all – vegan pizza, quesadillas, bowls, milkshakes, and more!
- I’ve heard several people say that Plant has the best vegan cuisine they’ve had. It’s right in the heart of Cape Town’s CBD, making it an awesome stop before or after exploring the art galleries or Long Street!
- Schekter’s Raw. To this day, the best veggie burger I’ve ever had was from Schekter’s Raw. They have an amazing selection of vegan food including pancakes, burgers, hot dogs, sweets, and more! I’d take anyone here.
- Nourish’d Café and Juicery. This juicery in Obs opened up just a few weeks before I left Cape Town. They’re a wonderful breakfast stop with juices, smoothie bowls, salads, toast, and anything a healthy foodie could want first thing in the morning.
- Dolce Bakery. No trip to Cape Town is complete without stopping by this popular spot! Although they’re not entirely vegan, Dolce Bakery very vegan-friendly with a wide selection of vegan pastries, sandwiches, and pizzas including a must-try vegan caprese!
- Unframed Ice Cream. If you ask any of my friends from study abroad, they’ll tell you that I was obsessed with Unframed. About half their ice cream selection is vegan, and they have rotating menus at both their locations (on the Waterfront or on Kloof Street; both locations are great stops during sightseeing!) I recommend trying the vegan matcha if they have it!
- Maharajah Vegetarian Cuisine. I actually lived above this all-vegetarian Indian restaurant in Rondebosch. I’m not kidding when I say I went here every day; the menu is nearly entirely vegan (some dishes have cream, but you can easily request for almost anything to be vegan) and it’s very affordable. They also have a student special.
- Old Biscuit Mill. I would highly recommend going to this weekly food and craft market in Woodstock. There are many different food vendors including a few of the restaurants on this list, and I never fail to find delicious vegan goodies.
- Oranjezicht City Farmer’s Market. This market located near Cape Town’s famous waterfront is another must-do on a Saturday morning. The market features over 28 organic urban farms from across the Cape Town area and there are a number of vegan food vendors as well.
What to do
Cape Town is a vegan foodie’s dream, and there are so many fun things to do as well! Here are the activities I would recommend putting on your itinerary.
- Cape Town’s iconic mountains provide an unreal backdrop for the city. Most people who come to Cape Town say that it’s one of the most beautiful places they’ve ever been. There are a number of hiking routes you can take ranging from moderate to difficult. I would recommend Lion’s Head for beginning hikers and Table Mountain or Devil’s Peak for those looking for a challenging hike!
- Go surfing at Muizenberg Beach. Muizenberg is Cape Town’s most popular surf spot. There are a number of surf shops along the beach where you can rent boards and wetsuits (you’re definitely going to want them!) You can also sign up for surf lessons if you’ve never surfed before.
- Explore the wineries at Stellenbosch. Stellenbosch is a 30-45 minute drive outside of Cape Town. If you’re a wine lover, you’ll geek out over all the wine tasting and tours offered in this area.
- Explore Cape Town’s CBD. The Central Business District (CBD) offers plenty of shopping, museums, and restaurants to keep you entertained. I would recommend going to the Slave Lodge and District Six museums to learn about Cape Town’s important history.
- Go thrift shopping in Obs. Besides having a number of awesome vegan food options (see above!) Observatory is known for its thrift shops. Spend the day eating and thrifting and wind down with a drink at Stone’s.
- See the penguins at Boulder Beach. One of the coolest parts about Cape Town – penguins! They all love to swim and waddle around Boulder Beach in Simon’s Town, and it is definitely worth a trip to go see them!
- Watch the sunset from Signal Hill. Signal Hill is a famed sunset spot in the middle of the city. You can find insane views of the mountains, sunset, and sea here.
- Spend a day in nature at Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. If you’re a plant geek like me, then you’re going to love looking at all of Cape Town’s unique vegetation. Fun fact: most of the vegetation in Cape Town is actually in its own floral kingdom, and much of it can’t be found anywhere else in the world! Kirstenbosch is a gorgeous place to learn more about Cape Town’s plant life and spend a day outside.
I hope this Cape Town guide was helpful! If you haven’t been to Cape Town, definitely put it on your bucket list. And if you can’t go any time soon (or even if you can!) I recommend reading Trevor Noah’s book – Born a Crime – to learn more about South African history and society. The book was a life-changer for me and I recommend that anyone interested in traveling to South Africa read it.
I was so pleasantly surprised by how vegan-friendly Cape Town was, and I can’t wait for you to discover it too! Where have you traveled as a vegan?
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Photo: Maille O’Donnell